WITH so many historic buildings across the county it is no surprise there are so many ghost stories in Essex.

We’ve had a look through our archives and used Paul Lee’s ghost website to share some of the tales.

Here is a look at some of the most haunted buildings in our area:

Walton Pier, Walton

Clacton and Frinton Gazette:

A phantom fisherman in leather waders and associated equipment has been seen here and anglers have indulged him in conversation.

St Leonards Church, the Hythe

Clacton and Frinton Gazette:

The church of St. Leonards at the Hythe, according to a popular story, is supposed to have the ghosts of five men who died in the parvise room, located above the entrance porch.

Colchester historian Alice Goss says this room was once used as a gaol in medieval times and according to the story, it’s where four men were once imprisoned for trying to steal items of church plate.

A local baker took pity on them and gave them bread to eat and for his kindly act he too was imprisoned there and left to die with the others.

Although there is no documented evidence of this particular story being true, faces have been seen at the window, and are reported to be those of the five men.

The Moot Hall, Maldon

Clacton and Frinton Gazette:

Dark figures, long bangs, footsteps, voices, breathing, doors slamming, a foul smell and furniture moving have all been experienced here.

The manager of Moot Hall, Victoria George said: "Yes I would say we do have ghosts and strange happenings, not surprising given the age of the building (600 years) and its varied past functions.

"We prefer to allow our ghosts to rest undisturbed. We find that way we can all muddle along together in the Moot Hall space without too many encounters. Although they still let us know they are there."

Church of the Holy Cross, Basildon

A monk in a reddish gown floats from the churchyard to a point about 500 yards across the road from the church.

On other occasions, he has been seen on a footpath and in the church, and a cyclist nearly ran into the spectre! Noises and footsteps have been heard inside the church at night, when it is empty.

Southend Pier, Southend

Clacton and Frinton Gazette:

At least one ghost has been seen on the pier - on one occasion, a builder who was working there was so terrified that he fled when he saw a woman in black, old fashioned clothes.

Additionally, a man described as being tall and wearing a long coat was chased by a policeman.

Laurraine Lucas, the resort officer for culture, tourism and property said: "As far as we are aware there has been no ghosts sighted or felt on the Pier."

Castle Park, Colchester

Clacton and Frinton Gazette:

The rumours of a ghost stem from the death of James Parnell, the Quaker, who died at the castle on 10th April 1656.

James died in cruel circumstances at the hands of an evil gaoler and his wife, with his ghost said to haunt the castle, often seen in the area

near to where he died within the eastern wall.

The only truth to this story is; that we know James did die there, so perhaps the story was invented to keep James's memory alive, if so then the story has worked.

The Ship Inn, Clacton

Minor outbreaks were being reported in this pub in the closing years of the 20th century but it is not clear if these still occur.

"One of our staff [has experienced something]," said someone from the pub.

The Shoulder of Mutton, Fordham

Clacton and Frinton Gazette:

Perhaps the most recent addition owners of the The Shoulder of Mutton have called in a ghost hunter after a series of spooky situations.

It follows rumours the historic Grade II listed village pub is haunted by the spirit of an old barmaid.

Last year businessman Jonathan Neill and his wife Jacqui purchased the premises, setting about on renovation works to bring it back to its former glory.

They hope to turn the business into a new licensed tearoom and antiques centre.

But since renovation works began, Jonathan said strange things have been happening at the premises, and a few hidden secrets have been uncovered.

Lights began switching themselves on and off, glasses on the top of the bar started flipping upside down overnight.

He said: "A former resident was briefly questioned and confirmed suspicions of ghost activity.

"She said that one of the ghosts had been nicknamed 'the green lady'.

"She was reluctant to say much more but it is believed this ghost is an old barmaid."

Horse and Groom, Braintree

An apparition has been seen leaving the pub and going to Autoparts across the road; in addition, noises and strange smells (including freshly baked bread) have also been detected, as has a man in the cellar.

Billericay Police Station, Billericay 

Clacton and Frinton Gazette:

The sound of footsteps coming up the stairs, an airlock door opening and slamming, and banging and crashings have been blamed on the ghost of Chief Inspector George Manning and who died in 1976 after being involved in a road traffic collision.

On one occasion, a set of vehicle keys jumped off a hook on the wall when no one was near them.

To conduct your own ghost hunt visit: paullee.com/ghosts/ghostgeo/